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House Speaker is open to removing sales tax on food — if earmark for education goes, too

Posted at 4:03 PM, Feb 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-25 19:38:04-05

SALT LAKE CITY — House Speaker Brad Wilson told reporters on Friday he is open to removing the state portion of the sales tax on food, in conjunction with ongoing discussions about removing the earmark for education in the state income tax.

"Personally? I’d love to take the sales tax off food. I’m a supporter of that. We’ll cross that bridge next year when we get to it," Speaker Wilson said.

As FOX 13 News reported on Thursday, legislative leaders have abandoned efforts to try to push a proposed constitutional amendment this year to eliminate the earmark, which funds public education and some social services. Political leaders have argued that tax volatility impacts the overall budget, with many priorities.

"With the earmark, given our needs, taking care of transportation, public employees, public safety, mental health, we’ll work through that," Speaker Wilson said. "I would just characterize it as we want to have a lot of flexibility and we want to work through options."

But it would take a constitutional amendment to remove the earmark — and voters just approved one moving social services under education funding. Education groups had a number of concerns about the idea and there is only a week left in the legislative session.

Bills to eliminate the state portion of the sales tax on food have gone nowhere this year. The idea appears to be an incentive for people to support any proposed constitutional amendment to give the legislature more budgeting flexibility.